Will Turkey Ever Join the EU?

Posted on 29 April 2011

With all that’s going on in Libya, Syria and the Middle East in general, we can almost forgive the press for the lack of coverage of the two EU enlargement meetings with Turkey and Croatia last week. Well, to be honest there is also the potential that they didn’t give it much attention because Croatia’s accession is now all but a formality, and because there has been little to report on Turkey’s accession for a year now even during and after any meetings held on the matter. The process is frozen.

I just read another article on why Europe needs Turkey, and in it the writer says that the lack of progress “reinforces many people’s belief that Turkey will either never become an EU member or that it should not become one all together”. So I thought it would be good if we gave our tuppence worth on the question, will Turkey ever join the EU?

In my opinion the answer is yes. In the aforementioned article, as is common in such pieces (I should know I have written a couple) the possibility was addressed that the EU’s apparent affliction to accepting Turkey is based on ideological or even religious reasons. But, with the exception of a few countries this is untrue.

We all know who those countries are, and the simple fact is that at the moment, the fact that Turkey fails to open its ports to Cyprus, give the press full freedoms and fully meet other stipulations gives them all the ammunition they need to keep Turkey out. When you take religion out of the equation, whether Turkey will join the EU or not comes down to whether or not they can resolve the Cyprus issue and whether it can reform far enough on things like freedom of the press.

This is where my answer comes from, because I personally believe achieving those goals are achievable and that Turkey will eventually get there.

However, it won’t happen anytime soon, because Turkey really doesn’t need to be in the EU at the moment – certainly not as much as it used to. During the boom EU accession was seen as this holy grail of property investment worthiness, but with the EU now in a sovereign debt quagmire trying to pull itself out of recession, and Turkey the fastest growing economy in Europe, the latter needs no such stamp of approval from the former. But I believe that one day Turkey will be accepted into the EU.

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